Inkosi ya Makhosi M’mbelwa V says men’s silence on gender-based violence (GBV) is contributing to increased suicide cases among them and the spread of HIV and Aids in Mzimba District.
Speaking at a GBV workshop in Mzimba on Wednesday, the Ngoni Paramount Chief said more men face GBV, but fail to voice it out due to the district’s cultural set-up where people practice patrilineal family system.
He said the abused men lack forums to share their concerns and resort to suicide as the way out of the abuse.
“When combating GBV, let us not just focus on women. We have a lot of men facing domestic violence. For example, we had an incident where an adviser to a chief hanged himself due to domestic violence.
“He couldn’t share it because culturally a man is head of the family and is supposed to endure everything,” he said.
The workshop was organised by Engender Health Malawi under the theme Achieving a GBV-free Area in M’mbelwa Kingdom: Role of Traditional Leaders.
Engender Health project director Sarai Chisala Tempelhoff said the seminar targeted traditional leaders because they are custodians of cultural and social norms.
“If we identify some cultural practices that entrench GBV, it is important to work with these leaders to change those practices,” she said.
Tempelhoff said the chiefs will also be expected to develop commitment statements and action plans that will guide their efforts in combating GBV in the Kingdom. Director of gender affairs in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Mercy Safalao, urged men to report GBV